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At OPM, our Retirement Services staff works hard each and every day to provide the best customer service we can to our Federal retirees and their families. I know that as tax season approaches and the new cost of living increases take effect, many of our annuitants have questions.
I also know that the phone lines to RS can be especially busy now. So I want to make sure you know about our Services Online website. This portal is easy to navigate and allows retirees to access their retirement accounts 24/7. Retirees can update mailing addresses and change their Federal and state income tax withholding. We’re always updating this website, based in large part on your feedback and requests. For example, retirees can now request a duplicate annuity booklet from Services Online. Also new is a feature that allows retirees to look at and print their Retirement Services ID Cards.
Signing up is easy. If you have a Civil Service Annuity or Civil Service Final Number, you can use this portal. Once you’re on the login page, you can request a password by email or regular mail and set up your account. You will then have immediate access to Services Online.
If you want to get an early start on filing your taxes, you can go to Services Online and print your 1099R, the form retirees need to complete their filings. The system also includes information from the past two years if you need previous tax information. Otherwise, watch your mailbox. The 1099R forms for 2014 will be mailed by January 30, 2015.
As I said, there’s a new cost of living, or COLA, rate. It was reflected in the January 2, 2015 payments. The COLA increase was 1.7 percent for retirees. The full increase is paid to retirees who began receiving retirement payments on or before December 30, 2014. You can get more information about the COLA increases on our website.
As always, we look forward to continuing to serve our retirees and their families. We appreciate and are thankful for their years of dedication to public service. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide more accessibility for our annuitants to get the information they need, when they need it.
Let us know how we can better serve you. And stay tuned, there’s more to come.
I’m happy to report that OPM today issued its final Phased Retirement regulations. I know that many agencies and Federal employees are eager to take advantage of this new, innovative alternative to traditional retirement.
I think that this new policy, once it is in effect, will meets the needs of employees while allowing managers to continue to tap into the experience, the wisdom and the judgment of our talented Federal workforce. Like any policy, it will come with many questions, so let me try to address some of them today.
Number One: What is it?
Under Phased Retirement, a full-time employee will be able to work part-time and start collecting retirement benefits. Phased retirees must also spend 20 percent of their time mentoring their fellow employees as a way for them to pass on their knowledge and skills to their colleagues. OPM will begin accepting Phased Retirement applications on November 6.
Number Two: Who can participate?
This is not a one-size-fits-all program. Whether you are eligible will depend on which retirement system you belong to and how many years of service you have.
Number Three: What do I do if I want to participate?
If you are interested, the first thing to do is to talk to your manager and /or your Human Resources office to see if this is an option for you. Assuming you are eligible, you can fill out an application. Once your agency approves it, OPM will process it.
Number Four: How are my benefits handled during Phased Retirement?
Phased retirees will still get health benefits under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and will still be enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. You and your agency will continue to pay the same shares of the premiums. But in the case of benefits such as pay and leave, a phased retiree will be treated like a part-time employee.
Number Five: If I am participating in Phased Retirement, what are my options to end Phased Retirement?
You and your agency will decide together how long you want to continue as a phased retiree, the timing of your full retirement and whether you want to ask to return to work full time.
Remember, if you think Phased Retirement is for you, talk to your manager. Many more details about the plan can be found on OPM.gov.
To me, this program is a win-win. Employees can design a smooth transition into the next phase of their lives, and agencies across government can get a head start on succession planning.
So I hope all Federal employees will review the details of this new program. Think about it. Talk with loved ones. And as always, thank you to all of our Federal employees for the work you do for the American people each and every day.
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